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New York City Will Allow Gender-Neutral 'X' On Birth Certificates; A new bill makes it easier for all transgender people born in NYC to change the sex listed on their birth certificates, and permits an 'X' option for those defining as non-binary.
I did not think we'd get here. COVID cases are in the single digits, and many cases are off-campus (https://health.gatech.edu/coronavirus/health-alerts). Test positivity rates are incredibly low (https://gatech-covid-tracker.com/). I think we can say that Georgia Tech has navigated through it's first wave of COVID cases. How did this happen? I'm not an epidemiologist, and even Dr. Fauci himself wouldn't be able to give you a 100% correct answer, because nobody can give you a 100% correct answer - there are too many unknowns. But, we can look at a few factors. 1.) Modified herd immunity threshold. Immunity is likely a real phenomena with COVID-19. Yes, there are now 7 confirmed cases of reinfection, but immunity is not a binary thing. It is not as if every person infected with COVID will either be immune, or they will be as unprotected as the rest of us. It's likely that the majority of COVID cases will gain some sort of immunity, and some will gain no immunity. For the sake of simplicity, let's just assume everyone infected with COVID at our campus has immunity. Georgia Tech has, in total, around 900 positive COVID cases. There are ~14,000 people on campus if you wildly extrapolate from a few surveys taken on this subreddit - if anyone could find where the actual number is, it would be helpful. Additionally, around 5-10% of the US was probably infected in the original Feb-March surge, which would be 700-1400 people. This brings us to 1600-2300 immune people in a population of 14000. The herd immunity threshold is given by (1-1/R0). Uncontrolled, the R0 for SARS-CoV2 is ~4. This means roughly 75% of the populace must be infected to gain "true immunity" - IE, you can do whatever you want, no distancing, no masking, etc. Obviously this is a bad idea. But, we aren't letting SARS-Cov2 spread uncontrollably. Mask compliance is high, people are trying to distance, people are washing their hands more often, etc. R0 is a function of environmental parameters as well - increasing distancing and hygiene decrease your R0. So what is the R0 with distancing and masking? That's a big question, but estimates from New York and Western Europe say it was somewhere around 0.8-1.1. A college campus will have a higher R0 than a typical state or nation, so we'll shift this up to 1.1-1.3. This brings our herd immunity threshold to anywhere between 9-23%. We currently have in the range of 11.5%-16%, and some cases on campus may have gone totally undetected. Here's a twitter thread by an MIT data scientist if you want to read more about the "modified herd immunity" phenomena. 2.) The people who took the most risks have already gotten COVID. Anecdotally, and logically, this makes sense. People going to bars, frat parties, etc have already been infected, and that was our "first wave". Unfortunately, I don't know how to quantify this in any meaningful way, but it is probably a factor. 3.) Behavior change. People could've seen the surge in cases and decided to be more careful - get tested weekly, avoid indoor dining, go to the CRC early in the morning when it's less crowded rather than in the middle of the day, etc. This would lower R0 as well and aid with point 1, although again, I don't know how to meaningfully quantify this. But it is a possible factor. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you made it through the above, congratulations. The question now is what Tech should do. Frankly, I feel like I am wasting both money and time this semester. This is unavoidable, and not Tech's fault or USG's fault - just a virus doing it's thing. But, just as governments - those of New York, China, South Korea, Germany, etc - gradually eased back on restrictions as the first curve was crushed, I believe Tech can and should do the same. We should not throw the floodgates open and let all hell break loose - but I think we can slowly loosen the screws in a manner that improves educational experiences, and in a way that avoids a second wave. Remote learning sucks. At least for intro classes, there is far better free material on Coursera - made by people who know how to deliver content online and who have been doing it for years - as opposed to professors who were thrown into this a few months ago. As we all know, many "hybrid" courses are pretty much all online. I'd suggest the OPTION - for both professors and students, mandates are a god awful idea - to have more in-person hybrid sections. This won't give me my money's worth - but it'll give us something. As of now, I have three hybrid classes - and yet have not had a single in person class. These classes can be conducted in a safe, distanced/masked manner, as to keep our R0 low and keep reaping the rewards of the "modified herd immunity" discussed above. This might be difficult to implement in the middle of this semester, but I think it can be implemented next semester, in the absence of mass vaccination until (in the most optimistic case) February-March. Other things include opening up lounges in dorms. Also, I know visiting other dorms is technically banned, but everyone I know is ignoring that rule. Many people aren't even aware of that rule - might as well just get rid of it if compliance is close to nil. But, I'd prefer more in-person classes above all else. This was a long post. Ultimately, COVID is a game of trades - we could lock everyone in their homes until there's a vaccine, but that would destroy our society. We could let everyone run wild until there's a vaccine - again, that would destroy our society. It's a multivariate optimization problem, where we are trying to maximize safety, education, and the student experience. I'm just a dude trying to help us find that maximum. TLDR: COVID-19 first wave beaten due to number of factors. More in-person classes would be nice.
*These are preliminary Patch Notes and changes may still happen until the launch of Title Update 10.
New Season – Keener’s Legacy
A new season is almost upon us! Starting on June 23rd, Keener’s Legacy offers 12 weeks of in-game activities and unique rewards. Season 2 brings a new Seasonal Manhunt, new Leagues, a new Global event and new unique rewards, as well as an Apparel Event.
New Manhunt tasking you to take on 5 rogue agents over a 12-week period starting June 23rd. Bring down all five to unlock the new Healing Trap skill variant.
New Global Event Hollywood
New Apparel Event Phoenix Down
New Leagues Termite, Luna, Huntsman and Titan.
2 new Exotics
1 new Gear Set
2 new Named Weapons
2 new Named Gear
1 new Brand Set
Participating in the activities above will earn players Season experience contributing to their Season level.
Playing Conflict will contribute XP by gaining Conflict Levels beyond 30.
Playing in the Dark Zone will contribute XP by gaining DZ Levels beyond 30.
New Raid - Operation Iron Horse
The True Sons have taken over a Foundry to develop new weapons and threaten to destroy everything the Division has worked for.
New bosses, puzzles and rewards!
Level 40 version available on June 30th, followed the next week by the level 30 version.
Discovery mode will become available at a later date.
2 new Exotics
2 new Gear Sets
New cosmetic rewards
Further details will become available closer to the raid’s release in late June.
Balance and Bug Fixes
Title Update 10 is bringing our first large balance pass following the release of Warlords of New York. Beyond the addition of new content, the update focuses on three main aspects mainly game health through bug fixes and balancing, generosity by increasing your chances to receive a high-quality item as loot and increasing overall player power. Scroll down for a full list of bug fixes, balancing changes and gameplay tweaks.
Missing Localized Audio
We wanted to inform you about an issue with localized audio that will be present when we launch Title Update 10 and Season 2. While the team was able to work from home to get this update ready, with your help testing the content on the PTS, we unfortunately were not able to record all localized audio content for TU10. With everything going on in the world, our top priority is the well-being of our teams, including our voice actors. Of course, we will start working on recording the missing audio with our partners when it is safe to do so and, in some cases, we were able to get things started already. Adding the localized files to the game as soon as we can in one of our next updates is an absolute priority for the team. This only affects Seasonal content. Operation Iron Horse audio is fully localized. If you are currently playing with a non-English client, you don’t have to change anything going into Title Update 10. When localized audio is missing you will just hear the English audio instead. Subtitles have been localized and can be activated in the ingame options. As work continues, we will update you on the progress of the integration here on the forums and on State of the Game. Thank you and stay safe!
SRS Sniper Rifle: Mantis
Your scoped view displays additional information about enemies not targeting you
Your scoped view highlights enemy weakpoints
Headshot and weak point damage against enemies not targeting you amplified by 50%
Headshot kills reset the cooldown of the Decoy skill. This bonus will wait until the Decoy goes on cooldown if currently active
Status effects also apply a damage over time debuff for 10s
Total damage dealt is equal to 50% of your concussion grenade damage and increased by your status effect attributes
Double Barrel Rifle: The Ravenous (Operation Iron Horse)
On trigger-pull, fire both barrels at once
When fired from the right shoulder, hits add offensive primers, and defensive primers when fired from the left shoulder
Hits from one shoulder will detonate all of the opposite shoulder's primers when present
When detonated or affected enemy is killed, each offensive primer deals 100% weapon damage, while each defensive primer grants +4% bonus armor and +10% amplified damage to armor plates for 5s
Primer effectiveness is doubled at 10 stacks
Magnum Pistol: Regulus (Operation Iron Horse)
Headshot kills create a 5m explosion, dealing 400% weapon damage and applying bleed to all enemies hit.
High accuracy and base damage
New Gear Sets
Eclipse Protocol (Season 2)
Core: Skill Tier (Yellow)
2: +15% Status Effects
3: +15% Skill Haste and +30% Hazard Protection
4: "Indirect Transmission" Your status effects now spread on kill to all enemies within 15m and refresh 50% of the duration.
Chest talent: "Proliferation" Increases Indirect Transmission range from 15m to 20m and refresh percentage from 50% to 75%
Backpack talent: "Symptom Aggravator" Amplifies all damage you deal to status affected targets by 15%
Foundry Bulwark (Operation Iron Horse)
Core: Armor (Blue)
2: +10% Armor
3: +3% Armor Regeneration
4: "Makeshift Repairs" Whenever you or your shield take damage, 20% of that amount is repaired to both over 15s
Chest talent: "Process Refinery" Increases Makeshift Repairs from 20% to 30% over 15s
Backpack talent: "Improved Materials" Increases Makeshift Repairs speed from 15s to 10s
Future Initiative (Operation Iron Horse)
Core: Skill Tier (Yellow)
2: +30% Repair Skills
3: +30% Skill Duration and +15% Skill Haste
4: "Ground Control" Increases you and your allies' total weapon and skill damage by 15% when at full armor
When you repair an ally, you and all allies within 5m of you are also repaired for 60% of that amount
Chest talent: "Tactical Superiority" Increases Ground Control damage bonus from +15% to +25%
Backpack talent: "Advanced Combat Tactics" Increases Ground Control proximity repair from 60% to 120%
New Gear Brand
Walker, Harris & Co.
Core: Weapon Damage (Red)
1: +5.0% Weapon Damage
2: +5.0% Damage to Armor
3: +5.0% Damage to Health
New Named Weapons
Mechanical Animal (SIG 556) with Future Perfection
Weapon kills grant +1 skill tier for 19s. Stacks up to 3 times.
Weapon kills at skill tier 6 grant overcharge for 15s.
Overcharge Cooldown: 90s
Harmony (Resolute MK47) with Perfectly In Sync
Hitting an enemy grants +20% skill damage for 5s.
Using a skill or damaging an enemy with a skill grants +20% weapon damage for 5s.
Damage increases are doubled while both buffs are active at the same time.
New Named Gear
Matador (Walker, Harris & Co. backpack) with Perfect Adrenaline Rush
When you are within 10m of an enemy, gain 23% bonus armor for 5s. Stacks up to 3 times.
Chainkiller (Walker, Harris & Co. chest) with Perfect Headhunter. After killing an enemy with a headshot, your next weapon hit within 30s deals 150% of that killing blow’s damage in addition to it.
Damage is capped to 800% of your weapon damage. This is raised to 1250% if your headshot damage is greater than 150%.
New Skill Variant
The Repair Trap deploys a line of small devices capable of repairing friendlies in their proximity.
Note: The Repair Trap will not be available in-game until the Seasonal prime target unlocks in August.
Weapon Talent: Future Perfect
Weapon kills grant +1 skill tier for 15s. Stacks up to 3 times.
Weapon kills at skill tier 6 grant overcharge for 15s.
Overcharge Cooldown: 90s
Weapon Talent: In Sync
Hitting an enemy grants +15% skill damage for 5s.
Using a skill or damaging an enemy with a skill grants +15% weapon damage for 5s.
Damage increases are doubled while both buffs are active at the same time.
Backpack Talent: Adrenaline Rush
When you are within 10m of an enemy, gain 20% bonus armor for 5s. Stacks up to 3 times.
Chest Talent: Headhunter
After killing an enemy with a headshot, your next weapon hit within 30s deals 125% of that killing blow’s damage in addition to it.
Damage is capped to 800% of your weapon damage. This is raised to 1250% if your headshot damage is greater than 150%.
Reduced how many elites will spawn in the following mission:
Manning National Zoo
Coney Island Ballpark
Coney Island Amusement Park
Camp White Oak
Space Administration HQ
Federal Emergency Bunker
Added all new season 2 weapons/gear to general loot pools
Updated item power distribution to have a better spread between minimum and maximum for all difficulties
Increased minimum rolled item power for Field Proficiency/DZ caches, Clan caches and Season caches.
Regular loot from loot containers in Missions now scale with mission difficulty
Targeted loot from loot containers in Missions now scales with mission difficulty
Loot containers part of living world activities now scale with global difficulty
Increased targeted loot drop chances for all mission and Control Point difficulties
Added new season 2 brand to targeted loot rotation
Warlords of New York brands can now also show up as targeted loot in DC, including Dark Zones
Increased named item drop chance in regular Dark Zone loot
Increased named item drop chance in targeted loot everywhere
Added Warlords of New York/Season 1 Exotics (excluding The Bighorn) to targeted loot
Added Warlords of New York/Season 1 Exotics (excluding The Bighorn) to general Exotic loot pools (Heroic/Legendary/Raid/Exotic Cache)
Coyote's Mask drop from Coyote no longer has a minimum season level requirement
Removed regular weapon/gear loot containers not scaling with difficulty from Control Points
Increased the amount of scaling loot from the big Control Point reward container
Increased NPC loot drop chance for Veterans and Elites on Legendary difficulty
Crafting will now guarantee a higher minimum item power, resulting in higher overall stat rolls. An increased maximum item power also allows for better crafted items than before. The added weighting between the minimum and maximum power results in a more balanced average outcome for crafted and reconfigured items
Removed final World Tier 5 crafting bench upgrade, as its power increase is now redundant
Added Named Items to both Open World and Dark Zone vendors
Increased prices for Named Items
Increased item power for all vendors
Vendors no longer sell Superior quality items at maximum level
Added Field Proficiency cache to SHD level-up after reaching the maximum season level
Increased crafting material rewards for spending SHD level points in the Scavenging category
Added Season/SHD experience gain on Conflict level-up
Rogue Agent Encounters
Every Rogue Agent killed will now drop loot
Rogue Agent encounters no longer occur during time trials
Control Point Officers
Players revived by a Control Point Officer will now have 80% of their armor restored (Previously 0%)
Reduced the likelihood of Control Point Officers being downed in combat
Bounties acquired by speaking to characters in the open world will always be set to the difficulty at time of acquisition or higher.
This affects the Snitch and civilians rescued during the Public Execution or Rescue Living World Activities.
Scheduled bounties, such as daily and clan bounties, are unaffected.
Developer comment: Bounties acquired in the open world should always provide challenge and loot appropriate to the world they were acquired in. Upping your global difficulty now has the added benefit of improving all bounties you acquire within it.
New Season Pass Holder Project Slot.
Season Pass holders now have access to an exclusive daily mission which provides a large bonus to XP.
Weekly SHD Requisition Project Slot
Endgame players at World Tier 5 and Level 40 now have a weekly supplies donation project which rewards them with an exotic cache. (For World Tier 5 players, this replaces the previous daily SHD Requisition project.)
Legendary Mission Project
After TU10, completing any legendary mission will grant you the Weekly Legendary Mission project slot.
Completing the designated legendary mission will reward you with an exotic cache.
Developer comment: With the addition of "re-rolls" to exotics available through crafting, we created the new Weekly projects to provide a reliable supply of exotic components or exotic items.
Incoming Repairs no longer increases the amount of armor repaired by armor kits, talents or gear set effects.
Developer comment: Incoming Repairs was always meant to be the defensive attribute equivalent to Repair Skills, so that players could further enhance the amount of healing they receive from their skills, or the group's healer. Unfortunately, the underlying code prevented us from differentiating between alternate sources of armor repair, such as those from talents and gear sets like Foundry Bulwark, or Firewall's unique armor kit effect. We wanted to address this during the development of Warlords of New York, but chose to post-pone the fix in order to deal with higher priority issues at the time. We underestimated the extent to which this attribute would affect the new Warlords meta, and failed to predict the severity of degenerate gameplay it would cause when combined with certain talents or gear sets. It's important to stress that this is not a PvP-only issue, or an instance of the PvP environment affecting PvE balance. Incoming Repairs was compromising both aspects of the game, and needed to be addressed, especially considering this update coincides with the release of a new raid. Not addressing the issue would mean forcing ourselves to balance all existing and future gear and talents around the knowledge that players could potentially (read: very likely) double the amount of repairs they receive, which stifles creativity and effectively limits player choice.
1% Weapon Handling now gives 1% Weapon Accuracy, Stability, Reload Speed, and Swap Speed, up from 0.25%.
Reduced the maximum amount of Weapon Handling rolled on gear by 6%, to a maximum of 8% at level 40.
Developer comment: In the current meta, Weapon Handling on gear is considered a dead stat with no significant benefit. In TU10, equipping a piece of gear with +8% Weapon Handling will now give you:
+8% Swap Speed
+8% Reload Speed
This should hopefully make Weapon Handling a strong complimentary attribute for players looking to increase their overall accuracy/stability (bloom + recoil) and/or reload/swap speed. Making the % amount of Weapon Accuracy/Stability/Swap Speed/Reload Speed gained from Weapon Handling 1:1 will also remove another element of arcane knowledge from the game and reduce the need for additional mental math when determining whether the bonus is an upgrade or not.
Leadership: Bonus Armor increased to 15% from 12%
Spike: Skill Damage Duration increased to 15s from 8s
Reformation: Skill Repair Duration increased to 15s from 8s
Creeping Death: No Longer goes on cooldown if there are no valid nearby enemies to apply a status effect to. Status effects applied now properly copy the source status effect’s damage and duration.
Global Damage Modifiers
Reduced all PvP weapon damage by -20%
Additional Damage Modifiers
Increased MMR PvP weapon damage by 12.5%
Reduced Assault Rifle PvP weapon damage by -15%
Reduced Shotgun PvP damage by -12.5%
Reduced SMG PvP damage by -10%
Reduced Pistol PvP damage by -10%
Reduced Rifle PvP damage by -5%
_Developer comment: With TU10, there have been significant buffs made to the base damage of assault rifles, SMGs, and shotguns in particular. In order to prevent those weapons from becoming overly powerful in PvP, we’ve had to lower their PvP damage modifiers to compensate. Note: Assault rifles are still tuned to be 10% stronger than normal in PvP in order to compensate for their innate Damage to Health bonus being less useful against other players when compared to other weapon archetypes._
Specific Damage Modifiers
Increased Double Barrel Shotgun PvP damage by 16.6%
Reduced Pestilence PvP damage by -10%
Reduced Classic M1A damage by -5%
Merciless/Ruthless: “Binary Trigger” amplified weapon damage and explosion damage reduced by -50% in PvP
Dodge City Gunslinger’s Holster: “Quick Draw” damage bonus gained per stack in PvP lowered from +2% to +1%
Stacks gained per second in PvP now match the PvE value (0.5s to 0.3s)
No longer automatically applies burn status effect to the nearest enemy in range.
Now requires maintaining range and LOS (line-of-sight) for 3 seconds between the holster bearer and nearest enemy before applying the burn status effect.
Added visual UI feedback to reveal the radius of effect in PvP and an indicator for LOS between the holster bearer and nearest enemy.
Developer comment: This should help address the lack of contextual feedback in PvP, and add a much needed window of opportunity for counterplay, or potential to avoid the incoming effect entirely.
* Pestilence * Plague of the Outcast damage-over-time effect no longer triggers True Patriot’s white debuff armor repair effect. (PvP and PvE)
Developer comment: While we like to embrace emergent or unintended mechanics when the end result is unique and fun gameplay, True Patriot’s white debuff explicitly states it requires shooting the debuffed target in order to receive the armor repair effect. Pestilence’s DoT managed to bypass this restriction, making it and True Patriot (especially when combined with Incoming Repairs) scale to disproportionate levels of power when used together.
Gear Set Modifiers
Reduced the range at which marked targets can damage each other when critically hit to 15m (PvP only).
Added visual UI feedback when in range of another marked target.
Efficient: Reduced specialization armor kit bonus from 100% to 50%
Versatile: Reduced the amplified weapon damage bonus for SMGs and shotguns from 35% to 25%
Vanguard: Reduced the duration of shield invulnerability from 5s to 2s
Note: UI will still show the old duration, but will be fixed in a later update.
Specialization Modifiers * Firewall * Extracellular Matrix Mesh armor kit regen strength reduced by -50%, from 200% to 150%
Pulse now correctly reveals and highlights all players in the DZ, not just hostiles/rogues
Increased Striker Drone damage by 30%
Increased Assault Turret damage by 55%
Reduced Firestarter Chem Launcher PvP damage by -20%
Reduced Bleed damage from Stinger Hive, Mortar Turret and Explosive Seeker Mine by 75%
Increased Stinger Hive damage by 20%, scaling up to 55% at skill tier 6
Developer commentary: We want dedicated skill builds to have multiple, powerful defensive tools for area denial/control. However, the strength of bleed effects meant being hit by just 1 stinger drone, mortar, or seeker mine was nearly a death sentence for most builds. The stinger hive should now better punish players who remain within its area of effect, rather than needing to rely entirely on the excessive damage of a single bleed DoT, while allowing the hive’s drone damage to scale higher for dedicated skill builds.
AK-M – 15.8% damage increase
F2000 – 14.3% damage increase
Military AK-M – 13.2% damage increase
Black Market AK-M – 13.2% damage increase
FAL – 12.0% damage increase
FAL SA-58 – 12.0% damage increase
FAL SA-58 Para – 12.0% damage increase
SOCOM Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
Tactical Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
Mk 16 – 11.4% damage increase
AUG A3-CQC – 11.2% damage increase
Honey Badger – 10.9% damage increase
FAMAS 2010 – 10.6% damage increase
ACR – 9.7% damage increase
ACR-E – 9.7% damage increase
Military G36 – 9.5% damage increase
G36 C – 9.5% damage increase
G36 Enhanced – 9.5% damage increase
Carbine 7 – 8.7 % damage increase
Military P416 – 7.4% damage increase
Custom P416 G3 - 7.4% damage increase
Police M4 – 6.8% damage increase
CTAR 21 – 8.6% damage increase
Classic M60 – 12.5% damage increase
Classic RPK-74 – 12.4% damage increase
Military RPK-74 M – 12.4% damage increase
Black Market RPK-74 E – 12.4% damage increase
Military M60 E4 – 9.2% damage increase
Black Market M60 E6 – 9.2% damage increase
Military L86 LSW – 8.5% damage increase
Custom L86 A2 – 8.5% damage increase
IWI NEGEV – 2.6% damage increase
Stoner LMG – 2.0% damage increase
M249 B – No changes
Tactical M249 Para – No changes
Military MK46 – No changes
MG5 – No changes
Infantry MG5 – 3.2% damage decrease
Model 700 – 14.9% damage increase
Hunting M44 – 13.5% damage increase
Classic M44 Carbine – 12.5% damage increase
G28 – 11.4% damage increase
SOCOM Mk20 SSR – 9.3% damage increase
SR-1 - 8.6% damage increase
Custom M44 – 8.1% damage increase
M700 Tactical – 8.1% damage increase
M700 Carbon – 8.1% damage increase
Covert SRS – 6.0% damage increase
SRS A1 – 6.0% damage increase
Surplus SVD – 2.9% damage decrease
Paratrooper SVD – 2.9% damage decrease
UIC15 MOD – 21.6% damage increase
1886 – 21.3% damage increase
LVOA-C – 12.1% damage increase
M1A CQB – 10.7% damage increase
Lightweight M4 – 10.5% damage increase
G 716 CQB – 8.7% damage increase
SIG 716 – 6.7% damage increase
ACR SS – 3.7% damage increase
SOCOM M1A – No changes
M16A2 – No changes
USC .45 ACP - 2.8% damage decrease
Urban MDR – 5.5% damage decrease
Military Mk17 – 11.8% damage decrease
Police Mk17 - 11.8% damage decrease
Classic M1A - 12.6% damage decrease
Tommy Gun – 38.8% damage increase
PP-19 – 29.6% damage increase
Enhanced PP-19 – 29.6% damage increase
MP7 – 27.5% damage increase
MPX – 17.7% damage increase
M1928 – 20.0% damage increase
P90 – 15.6% damage increase
Converted SMG-9 – 15.8% damage increase
Black Market T821 – 15.4% damage increase
Police T821 – 15.4% damage increase
Vector SBR .45 ACP – 14.7% damage increase
CMMG Banshee – 12.5% damage increase
Police UMP-45 – 12.0% damage increase
Tactical UMP-45 – 12.0% damage increase
AUG A3 Para XS – 11.8% damage increase
Enhanced AUG A3P – 11.8 % damage increase
Tactical AUG A3P – 11.8% damage increase
Converted SMG-9 A2 – 11.6% damage increase
MP5A2 – 10.0% damage increase
MP5-N – 10.0% damage increase
MP5 ST – 10.0% damage increase
Tactical Vector SBR 9mm – 5.9% damage increase
M870 Express – 23.3% damage increase
Military M870 – 23.3% damage increase
Custom M870 MCS – 23.3% damage increase
Super 90 – 23.2% damage increase
Marine Super 90 – 23.2% damage increase
Tactical Super 90 SBS – 23.2% damage increase
SASG-12 – 21.3% damage increase
Tactical SASG-12 K – 21.3% damage increase
Black Market SASG-12 S – 21.3% damage increase
SPAS-12 – 18.6% damage increase
KSG Shotgun – 9.0% damage increase
Double Barrel Sawed Off Shotgun – Optimal Range reduced to 8m from 11m
586 Magnum – 68.8% damage increase
Police 686 Magnum – 68.8% damage increase
Maxim 9 - 23.5% damage increase
D50 – 17.5% damage increase
First Wave PF45 – 13.5% damage increase
Custom PF45 – 9.7% damage increase
Military M9 – 8.7% damage increase
93R - 7.7% damage increase
Snubnosed Diceros – 6.5% damage increase
Officer's M9 A1 – 6.3% damage increase
Diceros – 5.9% damage increase
M45A1 – 9.5% damage decrease
Tactical M1911 – 9.5% damage decrease
M1911 – 7.3% damage decrease
Developer comment: Along with the buffs to weapon damage, TU10's significant buff to weapon handling meant some exotic weapon mods no longer made sense or resulted in over tuned performance that no longer fit with the original design. We also took this opportunity to make improvements to underperforming exotic
Damage increased by +11.2%
Increased optimal range from 27m to 40m
Optics mod bonus increased from +0% to +30% Headshot Damage
Magazine mod bonus changed from +7% Headshot Damage to +10% Reload Speed
Added functionality that provides additional headshot damage, full talent is now:
When scoped, switches to semi-automatic fire mode, dealing 450% weapon damage with each shot.
(New) Headshots grant +2% headshot damage. Stacks up to 50 times. Resets to 0 at full stacks.
Damage increased by +7.8%
Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Stability to +10% Weapon Handling
Damage increased by +32.8%
Optics mod bonus changed from +15% Accuracy to +15% Critical Hit Chance
Muzzle mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +20% Accuracy
Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Critical Hit Chance to +10% Stability
Optimal range increased by 33.3%, from 15m to 20m
Long range effectiveness increased by 19%, from 42m to 50m
Added functionality that retains your current buffs to the next combat encounter when combat ends, full talent is now:
Hitting 30 headshots grant +20% critical hit chance and +50% critical hit damage for 45s.
Hitting 75 body-shots grant +90% weapon damage for 45s.
Hitting 30 leg-shots grant +150% reload speed for 45s.
(New) Buffs refresh when out of combat.
Damage increased by +2.6%
Damage increased by +11.1%
Optics mod bonus increased from +35% to +45% Headshot Damage
Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +15% to +5% Weapon Handling
Optics mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Headshot Damage
Muzzle mod bonus changed from +15% Stability to +5% Critical Hit Chance
Magazine mod bonus changed from +15% Reload Speed to +15% Weapon Handling
Added functionality to provide extra damage if you're trying to keep stacks, full talent is now:
(New) Hits grant +2% weapon damage. Stacks up to 30.
Headshots consume all stacks, repairing your shield for 3% per stack.
No longer highlights enemy weakpoints when aiming.
Damage increased by +12.5%
Muzzle mod bonus reduced from +20% to +10% Stability
Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +20% to +10% Weapon Handling
Magazine mod bonus reduced from +15% to +10% Reload Speed
Added functionality to provide extra non-explosive damage as well, full talent is now:
This weapon fires on trigger pull and release.
If both bullets hit the same enemy, gain a stack.
(New) At 7 stacks, shooting an enemy deals 500% amplified damage and creates a 7m explosion dealing 500% weapon damage, consuming the stacks.
Developer Comment: Merciless was previously balanced for its very unwieldy handling and compensated with very high burst damage. With access to much higher accuracy and stability, Binary Trigger’s explosion strength has been toned down.
Damage increased by +7.7%
Text updated to clarify a new target isn’t marked until after the 5s buff.
Damage increased by +11.0%
Damage increased by +18.9%
Optics mod bonus increased from +5% to +10% Critical Hit Chance
Muzzle mod bonus changed from +5% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Critical Hit Damage
Underbarrel mod changed from +5% Critical Hit Damage to +500% Melee Damage
Breathe Free: Lowered the amount of maximum stacks from 40 to 32, and increased the damage amplification per stack from 60% to 75%
Damage increased by +16.7%
Optics mod bonus increased from +5% to +15% Critical Hit Chance
Muzzle mod bonus changed from +10% Critical Hit Chance to +5% Critical Hit Damage
Underbarrel mod bonus reduced from +15% to +10% Weapon Handling
Magazine mod bonus changed from +10% Reload Speed to +10 Rounds
Magazine base capacity reduced from 60 to 50
Muzzle mod bonus changed from +10% Stability to +10% Accuracy
Underbarrel mod bonus changed from +10% Weapon Handling to +10% Stability
NinjaBike Messenger Kneepads
Added functionality to add bonus armor, full talent is now:
(New) Performing a cover to cover or vaulting reloads your drawn weapon and grants +25% bonus armor for 5s.
Dodge City Gunslinger Holster
Added functionality that makes your hit do headshot damage, full talent is now:
While your pistol is holstered, gain a stacking buff every 0.3s, up to 100. When you swap to it, your first shot consumes the buff and deals +10% damage per stack.
(New) This deals headshot damage to anywhere you hit.
Changed functionality to no longer grant group/raid-wide overcharge unless you are skill tier 6
Added functionality to provide hive skill haste, full talent is now:
(New) Grants +15% Hive skill haste per skill tier.
(Changed) Detonating a hive refreshes your skill cooldowns and grants overcharge for 15s.If at Skill Tier 6, this effect also applies to all allies.
Allies receiving this effect are unable to benefit from it again for 120s.
Added functionality to continue to provide damage bonus move for a short duration, full talent is now:
Cannot be staggered by explosions.
Increases total weapon damage by 3% each second you are not moving. Stacks up to 10 until you start moving.
(New) All stacks lost 10s after moving.
Gear Set Changes
Feedback Loop no longer fully refreshes the cooldown of a skill, but instead reduces it by up to 30s
Hollow-Point Ammo is no longer dropped on kill, and instead automatically added to your active weapon when killing status afflicted enemies
Backpack Talent (New)
Increases the duration of your bleed status effects by 50% and all bleed damage done by 100%
Increased 3-piece Reload Speed bonus from +20% to +30%
Tip of the Spear
Main Talent (PVE)
Aggressive Recon's weapon damage buff is now gained when dealing specialization weapon damage, instead of on specialization weapon kill
Main Talent (PVP)
Aggressive Recon's weapon damage buff is now gained when dealing grenade damage, instead of on grenade kill
Backpack Talent (New)
Increases specialization weapon damage by 20%, and doubles the amount of specialization ammo generated by Aggressive Recon
Aces and Eights
"Poker Face" backpack talent is now a baseline effect:
Flip an additional card on headshots
Backpack Talent (New)
“Ace in the Sleeve”
Amplifies 1 extra shot when revealing your hand
3-piece Headshot Damage bonus is now additive, rather than multiplicative
Increased 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +20% to +30%
Now repairs 20% of your armor in addition to granting 50% bonus armor
Increases total weapon damage by 1% per 5% bonus armor gained, up to 20%
Reduced the number of stacks lost on missed shots from 3 to 2
No longer reduces number of stacks lost on missed shots
(New) Increases total weapon damage gained per stack of Striker's Gamble from 0.5% to 0.65%.
Damage transfers on the initial bullet that marks a new target
Increased 3-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +30%
Brand Set ChangesAlps Summit Armament
Increased 1-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
Increased 2-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
Richter & Kaiser
Increased 3-piece Repair Skills bonus from +15% to +20%
Incoming Repairs brand set bonus increased from +15% to +20%
Increased 1-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
Increased 2-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
Grupo Sombra S.A
Increased 3-piece Headshot Damage bonus from +10% to +15%
Increased 2-piece Accuracy bonus from +10% to +20%
Douglas & Harding
Increased 2-piece Stability bonus from +10% to +20%
Increased 3-piece Accuracy bonus from +10% to +20%
Fenris Group AB
Increased 2-piece Reload Speed bonus from +10% to +20%
Increased 3-piece Stability bonus from +10% to +20%
Gunner specialization's Emplacement talent Weapon Handling bonus reduced from +15% to +10%
Note: The UI will incorrectly say it still adds +15% Weapon Handling. This will be fixed in a future update.
Stinger Hive, Mortar Turret, and Explosive Seeker Mine now display its Bleed Damage and Duration
Cluster Seeker Mine targeting accuracy improved
Developer comment: The Cluster Seeker Mine is not intended to be as accurate as the Explosive variant. Once it is a certain distance from its target it locks the location it is aiming for and continues towards that regardless of where its original target agent has since moved to. This "bullcharge" behavior reflects the mini-mines' less advanced technology and balances the skill mod's effectiveness. This said, we have noticed that the Cluster Seeker's accuracy has been a source of frustration so we've shortened the distance until it activates its "bullcharge" and adjusted when it decides to explode. These adjustments should make the Cluster Seeker feel more accurate, but these are measured steps as we do not want the skill to return to its OP TU7-state.
Stinger Hive base damage reduced -20%
Stinger Hive damage bonus per skill tier increased from +10% to +20%
Developer comment: In order to make investing in skill tiers have a greater impact on the Stinger Hive's damage, we slightly reduced base drone damage, while doubling the amount of damage gained with each skill tier. These changes will result in a net buff for dedicated skill builds, with a 10% increase in Stinger Hive drone damage at skill tier 6.
Restorer hive gains +5% drone flight speed per skill tier
Developer comment: Increases to the Restorer Hive's radius had the unfortunate effect of increasing the time it took for repair drones to reach their target the further they were from the hive. Increasing drone flight speed with each skill tier should help offset that somewhat counter-intuitive behavior when taking advantage of the increased area of effect, and make the Restorer Hive a more reliable tool for healers.
Riot Foam Chem Launcher ensnare duration bonus per skill tier reduced from +20% to +10%
Reinforcer Chem Launcher: UI has been updated to clarify that the initial heal only affects allies and not the Skill user. The functionality has not changed.
Blinder Firefly blind duration bonus per skill tier reduced from +20% to +10%
Blinder Firefly base blind duration reduced from 6s to 5s
Banshee Pulse cooldown increased from 20s to 30s
Banshee Pulse base confuse duration reduced from 5s to 4s
Jammer Pulse base disrupt duration reduced from 4s to 3s
Shock Trap base shock duration reduced from 5s to 3s (PvP duration remains unchanged)
Shock Trap base radius increased from 2m to 2.5m
When the active duration ends, its cooldown is refunded an equal number of seconds that it was active.
[PI] It's more than likely that Covid-19 will still be around at Christmas time - how are we going to explain to kids that Santa is still allowed to go into millions of houses?
I originally posted this in response to this AskReddit post. I recognize that it is nowhere near Christmas, but everyone needs a dose of alternate history once in a while. I apologize for the dry nature of this post. It was definitely written as an exercise in recording my stream of consciousness. At the very most, this can be considered a brief world-building experiment. TL:DR; For ethical reasons, your personal Santa does not live long enough to contract or transmit COVID '19. To properly understand Santa's COVID resistance, children will have to be let in on the secret history of the Kringle Consortium, and the ancient conspiracy behind our modern Christmas traditions. This may be shocking to many children, so it is up to parents to choose when and how to expose their children to the truth. I consider it the same as explaining to a child where chicken nuggets come from; They may initially be disturbed by the truth, but knowing will eventually help them grow into well-rounded adults. With that in mind, I present a chronological history and brief analysis of the Christmas Conspiracy, in 9 parts.
Part 1: Ancient History (300AD - 550AD)
Santa Claus was initially a mortal man - Nicholas of Myra (270 AD – 343 AD). He was a Catholic bishop in what is now Turkey, who saw the state of the poor, and would occasionally help by leaving anonymous gifts of toys, food, and money outside their homes in the night. When Nicholas died, a dedicated cabal of Christians memorialized him by secretly leaving anonymous presents for the poor in his name, on the date of his death, December 6th. Unfortunately, Christianity underwent an exponential growth phase, under the Holy Roman Empire, and soon there were tens of thousands of Christians needed to run this operation and to maintain the myth of an immortal St Nicholas. From about 500AD, they had realized that many cities had no idea who Nicholas of Myra was or what he looked like, and belief in him was waning, in favor of various local fairies and goblins. The Cabal of St Nicholas, as they were known by then, had taken to arranging sightings of "St Nicholas", dressed in his iconic vestments, to combat this doubt, but they were facing an issue. At some point, people would compare descriptions of the Faux Nicholas' features. They needed reliable continuity. Thus began the first major undertaking of this group.
Part 2: Wax Santa and the Travelling Corpse (550AD - 1100AD)
Like many holy men of the time, Nicholas of Myra's body had been painstakingly preserved and maintained, rather than being left to decay. This gave the cabal a couple of options. First, they made molds of Nicholas's face, and constructed very detailed wax masks that could be worn when delivering gifts. These, when combined with a small costume change to obscure most of the head (this is the origin of Santa's hooded and fringed coat), allowed the gift-bringers to seem identical to the occasional child or drunkard who caught a glimpse of their activities. However, this alone wasn't enough. The wax masks were rigid, and wouldn't pass close inspection. Santa needed to be able to occasionally make carefully managed appearances where he would speak or be seen to nod and wink or similar actions. In or around 750AD, the cabal hired the services of Boutros Al-Hadrami, a Moorish master puppeteer, to help them resolve this issue. Al-Hadrami rigged wires and armatures to Nicholas' actual preserved corpse, to allow it to be manipulated as a sort of puppet. By all accounts Al-Hadrami was the only Turkish man available with both the skill and strength needed to operate this macabre marionette, so he travelled from town to town for decades, operating the "Hero Nicholas" puppet. Eventually, the presence of this seemingly silent, massive black man had to be incorporated into the myth; and so began the stories of Black Peter or Krampus, depending on the region.
Part 3: The Crusades and the Age of Automation (1100AD - 1600AD)
Around 1100AD, the Knights Templar came into power within the Church, and folded many other secret orders under their direct authority. This included the Cabal of St Nicholas. The Knights Templar were a smaller organization at the time, and were focused in part on simplifying and reducing the number of convolutions and complexities that each order added to the Faith. To that end, they were responsible for moving the date of Nicholas' appearances to December 24th, to coincide with other Christmas operations of the time, as well as reducing monetary expenditures, by giving only childrens toys, rather than money or food. The Knights Templar were exceedingly well-funded by the riches they attained during the Crusades, but they were also extremely cautious with their money. By all accounts, they were the ones who began to run the conspiracy like a business, rather than a religious observance. They introduced dolls in the form of Saint Nicholas for the poor, as well as running an underground network where well-off families could pay a premium to have their child visited by St Nicholas. These rich families would even be able to select the toy that Nicholas would bring their child (thus introducing the idea of a Christmas list). The Nicholas puppet had been rarely used since the death of Al-Hadrami, as few could even come close to managing to operate the puppet, with any sense of realism.. The knights had resorted to purchasing slaves specifically for their strength, then training them to operate the puppet, but this route was producing less and less convincing performances. Eventually, the Knights would hire Leonardo da Vinci himself to design a new form of puppet, operated entirely by springs and gears. This new "automaton" would play one of several pre-recorded actions from a pegged programming disk. However, it's size and weight made standing performances impossible. To hide the mechanical components, and to conceal the actor providing Nicholas' voice, a large sledge was added to the myth, upon which Nicholas would be seated. To prevent close examination, this sledge was hoisted onto rooftops, and a story was concocted about flying from home to home, to deliver presents via the chimney. However, by the end of the 15th century, it became clear that the Knights had a new problem. Christianity was spreading rapidly outside of Europe, into Africa, Asia, and even the new American continent. There was no way that they could maintain the myth across that large an area, with their current scale, and there was no way to transport the Nicholas Automaton to the new world, without significant risk of loss, damage, or exposure. The myth needed revising, yet again.
Part 4: The Lapland Illusion (1600AD - 1900AD)
By the mid 1600s, the invention of the steam engine and the burgeoning field of optics had drawn the attention of the Knights. They needed a way to manifest "Father Christmas" (as St Nicholas was becoming known) around the world, without the logistics of world travel, so they turned to optics. Building off the research of Galileo and his peers, Jesuit Priest, Christoph Scheiner, worked with the knights to develop a series of collimating lenses and optical repeaters that could be secreted within strategic church bell-towers, which would take an image, projected at a high brightness from a few sources, and relay it from church to eventually project a moving image onto cloud cover in many locations, potentially thousands of miles away. However, to implement this new technology, they needed to produce a massive amount of light and motion at the origin point, without drawing attention. These hubs were built in low population areas around the world. We only know the precise locations of a few of these hubs, but they include Lapland, Tunguska, Alaska (at that time Eastern Russia), and Greenland. It is unknown how many of these projections were actually produced, or what the effective area was for each northern operations center, but this time period was when the flying sleigh and reindeer entered the mythos. The funding for this massive undertaking came from possibly the strangest place yet. In 1670, the knights began marketing "Candy Canes" as a Christmas confection that looked like St Nicholas' shepherd's crook (aka his bishop's staff). Soon this candy (little more than common sugar and peppermint extract) was a staple of the holiday season. On a darker note, the commercialization of the Nicholas Conspiracy was almost complete by this point, and the manufacturing and door-to-door labor was almost entirely done by young orphans, who were paid in basic room and board. Most of these orphans didn't live to see adulthood. These "elves" were just another victim of corporate greed. As central banks became common, the Knights Templar, now known as the Freemasons, began to divest their holdings into a group of large corporations, to launder the funds and divide and hide their large expenditures. This group of companies was called the Christkindl Consortium, or Christ-child consortium. Among the notable members were: The Federal Reserve, The Royal Bank of England, Lord and Taylor, Macy's, Hallmark, and Coca Cola.
Part 5: The Pre-Modern Era (1900AD - 1950AD)
Advancements in photography and aeronautics began to pose an existential threat to the myth of Father Christmas. An airplane could theoretically interrupt a beam path or photograph an apparition from the wrong angle. Furthermore, the isolated regions that they operated from were becoming more and more accessible to travellers. And so, the Kris Kringle Consortium, as it had become known to its American members, began a shadow arms race against the world. Initially, things were going well, advancements in miniaturization and global power distribution seemed to indicate that they were less than a decade away from being able to produce and control full 3d apparitions of Santa from completely local base stations. Something the size of a police call box could have served an entire village. But on Jun 30th 1908, disaster struck. A test of a power transmission tower in New York overloaded several prototype image transmitters in the Tunguska research facility, causing a massive explosion that demolished the entire facility. There were no survivors. It was decided that the future of St Nicholas lay on a completely different path, and research was halted on the global poweimage transmission technology. Much of the developed hardware was eventually simplified and commercialized by another Kringle member, RCA. And thus, the age of television was born. Meanwhile, the consortium shifted all funding into high-energy physics and biology, hoping to discover a fundamental paradigm shift. This was expensive, but by now, making money from Christmas was second nature to the group. They tasked Coca Cola, of all organizations, to develop a new worldwide branding for St Nicholas, complete with product tie-ins in every vertical. In the 1930s, this campaign launched, and the world finally met Santa Claus. Unfortunately, the two world wars didn't completely bypass the Kringle Consortium. Hitler, being a consumate business man, became aware that some of his nations businesses had significant world-wide holiday reach, and he demanded that these member companies divulge the secrets of the Consortium to Nazi high command. In 1942, Nazi Germany siezed control of the northern hub in Lapland, and used it to distribute propaganda gifts throughout mainland Europe for almost 2 years, only being successfully driven out in November of 1944. In the process, the Germans destroyed the hub, and killed all employees. It was, in fact, a direct response to this occupation that led to a certain group of Kringle-affiliated particle physicists being brought together in the Nevada desert to find a way to definitively win the war for the Allies.
Part 6: Multiverse Traversal (1950 AD - Present)
In 1952, Irwin Schrodinger had the breakthrough that made modern Christmas possible. He was a Kringle-sponsored physicist, working on understanding quantum phenomena. Irwin had previously hypothesized that until the state of the universe is observed, it is in a state of quantum superposition, where all possible outcomes exist simultaneously. These possible outcomes represent the infinite probable variants of our universe. Observing the system collapses all the other possibilities, except the one which is selected, effectively ending these infinite and unique universes. With the assistance of Richard Feynman, Schodinger made a further discovery in 1955. He discovered how to isolate specific objects from the quantum superposition, and cause them to persist in our universe, even after the collapse of their source universe. Using this discovery, real versions of Saint Nicholas could be selected from universes where they lived in contemporary times, and where they were about to present a gift to any given child in the world. This discovery had almost limitless potential for the consortium's mission, but came with serious ethical considerations. The machine made no separation between objects and people. Anything could be pulled from the waves of the Quantum Foam, just by providing accurate targeting parameters. The few members of the Catholic Magisterium tasked with oversight of the project were adamant that it could not be used on a human. They believed that either the resulting human would have a soul, in which case they would have to admit that every choice we make destroys an infinite number of human lives, or it would be a soulless homunculus, imitating humanity in open defiance of God. Either was seen as an abomination. The project was firmly restricted to whiteboards and notebook math for another 5 years, until a compromise was reached. The design was modified to allow for two types of extraction: permanent and temporary. A permanent extraction manifested physical objects from other universes, but would not allow for the extraction of anything living. Meanwhile, a temporary extraction would last only until the quantum waveform was collapsed, by observation. At that time, a temporary extraction would return to their own universe, and cease to exist. However, none of the scientists or business men could be trusted to operate the machine continuously. Instead, a board of executives would meet once a year, and would summon a single temporary overseer. One whose trustworthiness, ethical purity, and commitment to the cause could never be questioned, as it was confirmed by Mother Church herself.
Part 7: Nicholas Springs Eternal (Present)
On December 26th of each year, the executive board of the Kringle Consortium meets in one of two locations, The HAARP center in Alaska or the Pine Gap base in Australia, and ask their quantum machine a single, binary question: "Does the human race deserve joy." This question is used as the basis of a quantum superposition which is sustained for an entire year, and which is used to manifest that year's Santa Prime (sometimes humorously called Old Nick, or The King in Red). This incarnation of Saint Nicolas (or simulacrum thereof) is immediately given full control of the machine and of all associated resources, to prepare for the next Christmas. Over the course of the year, question after question is queued into the machine's massive registers, with all the associated intelligence needed to answer it. "Is [James Voorst, Sally Embry, Xiu Chen, etc] NAUGHTY or NICE?". Old Nick's job is to ensure that no answer is predetermined, and no name is missed. On December 24, as the first time zone reaches midnight, the machine's primary function is triggered, and Santa Prime takes his seat as observer. Hundreds of thousands of superpositions are created every second, and the machine selects the best universe match it can find within an time for walking the tree. From that universe, the relevant gift is permanently manifested, and the relevant santa is temporarily manifested to deliver it. Once delivered, and properly out of sight, the result of the machine is observed by Santa Prime, destroying any evidence of that local Santa's existence, except for the gift, and perhaps as a final mercy to the deceased, a consumed final meal of milk and cookies. When at last his nightly harvest is done, the King in Red, would-be savior of the poor and executioner to millions of his own kin, lays down for his own winter's nap, never to wake.
Part 8: How Does This all Relate to COVID '19?
Children can be assured that the universe pruning algorithm has been designed to reject any universe in which an ongoing pandemic threatens the health of the child. Santa will be perfectly healthy when he delivers your gift, and then will be ethically disposed of in the collapse of the quantum waveform.
Part 9: Frequently Asked Questions
Why doesn't every child get presents? Why isn't every present perfect? Why do children sometimes see their parents place their gifts? The universe selection algorithm is a variant of a MIN/MAX pruning of an infinite binary tree of universes. 1.5+ billion of these selections need to occur every night. So naturally, there is a timeout that will select the best universe evaluated, even if it doesn't meet the minimum threshold for a perfect santa experience. The project targets year over year improvements in this field, rather than perfection. What about bad santas? Could one be selected by accident? Unfortunately, a small number of casualties must be considered acceptable by the project. That's why suicide and abduction rates all increase slightly around Christmas. This has been identified as an opportunity for potential improvement of the project in future years. What about Santa Prime? Could we ever select a bad one? Thankfully the longevity of Santa Prime's manifestation allows the machine to perform a much more exhaustive search of the multiverse. So long as there is a reasonable chance that the Prime question could be answered "yes", we should never receive a negative Prime Manifestation. So, you tell me, "Does the world deserve Joy?"
https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/11/26/20975997/happy-therapy-mental-health-antidepressants " 'No one sits down [for therapy] and says, ‘Are you happy?’' says Candice Ferguson, who is running for a Colorado state representative seat. “They say, ‘Are you sad? Are you depressed? Are you whatever.’ But no one tries [to] say that you’re going to be happy during your treatments, or once they’ve sent you on your way.' Ferguson, who was sexually abused as a child and lived on her own before she graduated from high school, had a series of miscarriages in her 20s. She started having panic attacks. She sought a psychiatrist and was prescribed medication — now, at 43, she continues with therapy to maintain her health and is speaking publicly about her mental health history for the first time. She prefers not to view her well-being in terms as stark as being happy or not, which she feels can set up those with mental health issues for failure. 'Happiness is a dangerous carrot to dangle,' she says. Among those living with mental illness, there’s a shared experience of your health being judged by whether or not you seem “happy.” Despite the increasingly popular refrain that everyone should be in therapy, many still think of therapy as something you need when you’re not content with life. 'I’ve had people tell me, ‘Oh, but you always seem like such a happy guy already,’' says Vardaan Arora, a 27-year-old New Yorker who has obsessive-compulsive disorder. 'But even if someone presents as quote-unquote happy, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. And also, you can have a mental illness, and have bad days, and still have good days.' It’s a popular myth that mental health and happiness exist on the same side of a binary. Depression in particular is portrayed as the opposite of happiness — but happiness is an emotional state, and its opposite is sadness. Depression, like other mood disorders — and anxiety, psychotic, personality, eating, and substance-use disorders — is a health condition; the opposite, aside from never developing anything to begin with, is symptom management. 'I mean, happiness is not something you learn about in medical school,” says James Murrough, director of the depression and anxiety center at Mount Sinai’s school of medicine in New York City. 'It’s not even in our vernacular. It’s nothing we consider.' Murrough says people will often refer to antidepressants as 'happy pills,' a premise that makes no sense to clinicians. The ideal outcome of antidepressants isn’t happiness, but a return to the patient’s baseline level of functioning, or at least a reasonable approximation. It’s a small irony that the demographic assumed to be furthest from happiness seems less clinically and personally preoccupied with reaching it, since the rest of the country’s scheming to optimize happiness continues apace. Among the general public, happiness is a whole industry now, churning with self-help gurus and college lectures and annual UN reports and a fetishized understanding of yoga. Of course, the kicker is that for all that expended energy, we’re only getting less and less happy. People who live with mental illness do have longer odds on experiencing happiness than their healthy counterparts, but this is because they have more limited access to care. Compared to doctors in all other specialties in the US, psychiatrists are the least likely to accept insurance, and the options for those without private coverage are generally the thinnest of all. Mental health in this country is a luxury, and luxury is only for the wealthy. It is inordinately difficult for even people of relative privilege, such as Ferguson and Arora, to access the basic levels of care that allow them to experience happiness, and often functionally impossible for lower-income Americans like Val Phillips, a 51-year-old farmer in Colorado. “I’m on Medicaid, and used a public health option for most of my treatment, so we had to rewrite goals every three to six months,” Phillips says. She began having panic attacks in her late 20s, after her mother died. At 43, she attempted suicide. After that, she began seeing a therapist regularly, and got a formal diagnosis of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. She’s tried Elavil, overdosed on Klonopin, and currently takes Prozac and Wellbutrin daily, plus Vistaril as needed for panic attacks. But she says cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, which involves recalling traumatic events while simultaneously tracking hand movements your therapist makes, sort of like you do at the eye doctor) have helped her the most. 'Initially it was just moving me away from suicidal ideation. Then it became specific positive changes in my relationships, work life, and general health management. I cannot recall happiness ever being a goal.' People who’ve been through some form of mental health treatment might be less susceptible to the mirage — that sustained happiness can and should be our default state — because they’ve been taught to approach emotions as being inherently impermanent for everyone, in a way that, say, chronic illness is not. There’s less of an expectation that you’re striving for happiness at all times. 'Part of therapy is helping people to be less phobic or afraid of their emotions' says Andrew Kuller, a senior behavioral health clinical team manager at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital. 'To recognize that they’re going to pass, and it’s okay to feel whatever it is they’re feeling.' All the major emotions play an important role in our emotional lives, in giving us complexity and depth. Happiness is a healthy emotion. So is anger. Sadness is healthy and can facilitate real connection, and bears little resemblance to depression — which is not healthy, and often not so much like feeling sad as like feeling nothing. Yes, doctors want you to feel happy; they want you to feel. For people like Arora, that’s a better goal. Arora was diagnosed with OCD in 2012. He’s tried Prozac, Lexapro, Anafranil, talk therapy, and exposure and response prevention therapy — exposure to something that triggers you, followed by prevention from completing the compulsive ritual with which you cope. 'With OCD, so much of your time is spent ruminating on what may happen in the future, or what may have happened in the past. Life just sort of goes by you, and you’re not really living in the moment,' Arora says. 'To me, happiness doesn’t even have to be all the good things. I want to experience the bad things too, y’know?'"
Major League Redditball Independent Demographics Survey: RESULTS
Hey y'all! As most of you know, I've been running a demographics survey over the last week or so. Time to reveal the results! Of the 559 people currently on active MLR rosters, 139 filled out the survey, good for 24.86% participation. It's hard to draw any conclusions from only surveying about 1/4 of the league, but we'll do our best. What year did you join the MLR? Most people who put 2016 either didn't realize that you couldn't sign up as a player in 2016 or were fake submissions. I sorted through which ones were harmless mistakes and which were frauds, and came up with the following results. The leading answer was 2020, represented by 31.9% of submissions. 2019 came in second with 29.7%, followed by 2018 at 22.5% and 2017 at 15.9%. How many MLR seasons have you participated in? These answers followed those of the previous question, as the most common response was 1, which was the case for 33.1% of people who filled out the form. 27.3% said 2, 18.7% said 3, 14.4% said 4, and 6.5% has been around for all 5 seasons. How old are you? 38.8% of those who completed the survey fall into the 18-22 age bracket. The next highest percentage belongs to the 23-27 bracket, which makes up 21.6% of the pie. 13.7% said 15-17, 8.6% said 27-30, 8.6% said 30-35, 2.9% said 12-14, 2.9% said 35-40, and 1.4% said that they were Older than 50. What team do you play for? The most common team that appeared on the survey was the Kansas City Royals, with 12 submissions. My Los Angeles Angels came in 2nd with 11. Other notable teams were the Minnesota Twins and New York Mets who had 9 a piece, as well as the Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks, who each had 7. 28 of the 30 teams had at least 2 team members fill out the survey. Both the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians failed to have a single player fill out the survey. Finally, 1 of the 139 submissions came from a player who was Retired. Do you live in the United States? 85.6% said that they do live in the United States, while 14.4% said that they live outside of the U.S.A. If you live in the United States, what state do you live in? The most common state that appeared on the survey was New York, which appeared 12 times. Illinois appeared 8 times, while Florida and Texas each had 7. Minnesota and California each had 6, and Connecticut followed right behind them with 6. Other states (abbreviated) that appeared included NJ, CO, NC, GA, OH, MI, MO, NM, DC, MA, WA, IN, SC, AL, MD, TN, PA, HI, WI, VA, KY, OR, NV, SD, NE, ND, and DE. 7 said that they Would rather not answer. If you do not live in the United States, what country do you live in? Of the 20 people who listed a non-American country of residence, 10 of them live in Canada. The United Kingdom has 3 representatives, while The Netherlands has 2. Other countries who were represented on the survey include Denmark, Singapore, Portugal, and Panama. One person also stated that they lived in Europe without stating a country. Which of the following best describes you? (Position in life) 33.1% of those who filled out the survey said that they would describe themselves as a Full-Time Worker. 27.3% said that they are an Undergraduate College Student. 15.8% responded with High School Student, while 6.5% said they are an Undergraduate College Student w/ a Full-Time Job. 4.3% are a Part-Time Worker, 4.3% are a Graduate College Student, 2.9% are Unemployed, and 0.7% are in the Military. 1.4% said they Would rather not answer. For those who chose an option that included a current Full-Time or Part-Time job, what line of work are you currently in? I received quite a few different answers, and really there wasn't any answer that appeared more than 2 or 3 times. Quite a few people work in various STEM fields, including computer engineering, software development, mechanical engineering, and other related tech/math-based fields. A few people work in nursing/EMS, a few are in television/broadcasting, and a few even work in the Sports field, doing team sales or management. 4 people listed their occupation as Military. In terms of oddities, 1 person said they were a Fisherman, and 1 said that they are a full-time Actor. Also one person is a full-time bartender, so that seems like a fun Friday night hangout. Which of the following best describes you? (Gender) In the least predictable statistic to date, 95.0% said that they were Male. 2.2% said they were Female. 1.4% listed themselves as Non-Binary, 0.7% said Unsure, and 0.7% said they Would rather not answer. Which of the following best describes you? (Race/Ethnicity) 80.6% listed themselves as White/Caucasian, which is 4/5 of those who filled out the survey. 5.8% listed themselves as Asian, 4.3% responded with Hispanic/Latino, and 3.6% said they were both White CaucasianandAsian. Only 1.4% responded with Black/African American, and only 0.7% responded with Asian/Pacific Islander. What is your relationship status? 62.6% said they are Single. In terms of other common responses, 19.4% said they are In a closed relationship, 12.9% said they are Married, and 2.2% said they are In an open/polyamorous relationship. How many hours per week do you spend playing, working, or contributing to Fake Baseball? Surprisingly, 85.8% said that they spend 10 hours or less each week on Fake Baseball, meaning that 14.2% spend more than a full work day on our great game. 62.7% spend 5 hours or less on our game per week, while 27.0% spend 2 hours or less per week. On the other hand, 8.8% said they spend 20 hours or more per week on our game, and 3.2% said they spend 30 hours or more per week. What month of the year were you born in? The most common answer was May with 12.2%, followed by June with 10.8% and February with 10.8%. Other common answers included July with 9.4%, January with 8.6%, and March with 7.9%. The least common response was October with 4.3%. What is your favorite brand of soda? While 18.7% responded with the ol' N/A, the actual leading votegetter was Coke with 15.8%. Dr. Pepper followed close behind with 13.7%, and Sprite was next with 8.6%. Other common answers included Pepsi with 5.0%, and Barq's, Mountain Dew, "Root Beer", and Water each with 2.9%. How many teams have you played for? The vast majority of survey submissions (61.3%) said that they have only played on 1 team in their MLR career. 23.4% said they have played on 2 teams, 7.3% said 3, 5.8% said 4, and 2.2% have been on 5 teams. Just 1 submitter said they have been on More than 5 teams. Have you ever received any awards from the MLR for your on-field accomplishments? Just 24.5% said that they have received an award for their on-field accomplishments at some point in their career. Nearly 3/4 of those surveyed have NOT received an award, and 0.7% said they Would rather not answer. Have you enjoyed your time in Major League Redditball? 82.7% said Yes, 15.8% said Kinda-sorta, and just 1.4% said No. I hope those 1.4% will someday find happiness and enjoyment around here. Or not. Whatever you want I suppose. What is your favorite convenience store brand? The Dallas-based 7-Eleven won with 24.5% (nearly a quarter) of the vote. 12.2% went with the Mid-Atlantic (and Florida)-based Wawa, followed by Circle K, which had 7.2%. Other notable responses included Sheetz (6.5%), QuikTrip (5.8%), Casey's (4.3%), Buc-ee's (3.6%), Speedway (3.6%), RaceTrac (3.6%), Kwik Trip (2.2%), Kum & Go (2.2%), Stewart's (1.4%), Cumberland Farms (1.4%), Kangaroo Express (1.4%), and Holiday (1.4%). Do you watch actual, in-real-life baseball? 95.7% said Yes, 3.6% said No, and 0.7% said Would rather not answer. That does it for the survey results! Thank you for reading through all of that. If you want to see specific charts, I'll be posting them on request in the Discord server. Lastly, if you want to join the IRL Meetup network, you still can! PM me your player name and region and I'll get you signed up!
So how’s your quarantine going? I’ve been playing a fair amount of C:S lately and thought I might speculate on what could be improved in Cities: Skylines 2. Besides, it’s not like I have anything better to do. What C:S gets right and wrong Besides great modability and post-release support, C:S combines an agent based economy with a sense of scale. It also has the kind of road design tools that SC4 veterans would have killed for. District based city planning for things like universities was one of the best innovations in the genre in years, and the introduction of industry supply chains, while clunky and tacked on, brought much needed depth to the game. C:S suffers most notably from a lack of revisit rate to previously constructed things. Build a power plant: forget about it. Build a port: forget about it. Build a downtown: forget about it. The player isn’t incentivized to revisit old parts of the city to upgrade and improve them. The district system for universities and industry was a fantastic innovation that demonstrated how to do this concept well, and consequently they are some of the most fun and engaging parts of the game. The biggest criticism of C:S, despite its powerful design tools, is that it feels like a city painter. The systems feel rich at first, but become very formulaic after a few hours. There are no hard trade-offs. Providing every inch of your city with maximum services will not bankrupt you, nor will an economy of nothing but the rich and well-educated collapse from a lack of unskilled labor. In the end, every city dies of boredom once the player exhausts the game’s relatively shallow well of novelty. The biggest areas for Improvement
Balancing Competing Interests
A real city has not only doctors and engineers, but clerks and factory workers. Consider a system that requires balancing the needs of different economic strata to make a thriving city. Here's one example:
Poverty - Working Class - Middle Class - Professional - Elite
Working class are the backbone of the economy, but they need affordable housing and good public transit. Without adequate care though, they slide into poverty causing spikes in crime and declining health. Middle class and professional workers bring in higher taxes and work in better quality jobs, but if property values go too high, your city can attract too many elites--which consume prime real estate, have excessive demands, and are needed in scant few industries.
Providing good services for all citizens should be a real challenge, requiring thoughtful choices on how to provide them efficiently. Balancing for different economic strata also incentivizes building areas with different character. City’s need low-income tenements, middle class suburbs, and high-income downtowns.
C:S was meant to be played on an 81-tile map. It is a drastic improvement over the cramped origami-like vanilla experience. Small towns start to make sense to support farming and mining communities and the urban core acts as a natural hub for manufacturing and logistics. In short, the city begins to look and feel much more natural.
Systems have gotten a lot more powerful since C:S was first released, and a redesign with better multi-core support and a larger map should be a priority. A larger region map recontextualizes the experience from city-builder to region builder. A four-times larger map could fit several urban cores, expansive farmlands, quaint mining towns, and national parks. Most importantly, it provides the appropriate scale to implement a more complex economy.
The industries DLC, despite being simple and clunky, did a lot of things right in improving economic complexity. CIties aren’t just where people live; they make stuff. A key decision for the player as they design their city should be “what does my city do?” A region with plentiful iron could make for a thriving mining town, and a city with steel and auto industries. Beaches and national parks could make for a tourism industry. A well-educated population could attract a banking and finance industry, or maybe make for a national capital with legions of bureaucrats.
The government systems could also use a bit more depth. Where is the city hall? How does a law enforcement system work without a courthouse or an education system without a board of education? These should have some role to play. City halls could define the various municipalities of a region (growing more grandiose as the city grows) while other government buildings could define the police/fire/school districts of a region.
One of my biggest gripes with C:S is the repeat frequency of tall buildings. While each asset is creatively designed, the effect is ruined by seeing two of the same assets in close proximity. This can be addressed one of a few ways besides simply making more. First, tall buildings should be very few in number, difficult to achieve, and a reward for good stewardship. SC4 doesn't suffer from this problem as much mainly because getting more than a handful of skyscrapers is quite an achievement. Additionally, procedural generation is a clear next-gen feature for city-builders. Some seriously impressive work has been done in this area.
Architecture is also an extremely important element in the aesthetic of a city and should be a key tool available to the player. C:S has a modern style, which tends to feel sterile and lacks a sense of place. Paris without Parisian architecture doesn’t feel like Paris. Ideally, the player should be given the option to select architectural standards to apply to growables and city buildings within a given district. There’s endless fodder for DLC. 1930s New York City, DC Neoclassical, 1900s San Francisco, Parisian, Victorian, East Asian Traditional, Neo-futurism, etc.
The square based zoning system is obsolete and does not take advantage of the free-form road design tool. Imagine instead a zoning system that, coupled with procedural building generation, could produce results like this.
Also, the spectrum between rural farmhouses and high-rise apartments doesn’t fit well into the current low/high density binary, making the lack of medium density zoning kind of an odd choice that should be remedied.
Utilities should be an opportunity for creativity and problem solving. C:S utilities are just drudgery. Power and water distribution is a rote task that isn't interesting or challenging. Power systems are complex, with boilers, turbine halls, switchyards, transformers, and substations. Even a light implementation of this would improve upon the old two step formula of:
1) see low power notification 2) place a new power plant.
Instead a “power plant district” could be defined where turbines, water intakes, and resource depots are placed. More turbines could be added or upgraded to alternate energy sources (coal > gas > nuclear) as the city expands. The plant itself becomes an opportunity for creative expression that grows as the city grows.
Power distribution could be made more interesting by adding two elements: switchyards and substations. Switchyards distribute high voltage lines to substations and substations service local areas. The city-builder Workers and Resources has an interesting, if overcomplicated implementation of this concept. Designing a renewable energy grid to deal with cyclical power generation would also make for an interesting challenge.
Water grids could follow a similar formula, with a water extraction/treatment “district” and a network of reservoirs (water towers, underground cisterns, etc.) and pumping stations to maintain pressure. The combination of both these systems would also make for a more interesting underground as sustaining large urban areas would require a fair amount of planning and space management.
Each transit station should have a “configure” option. This could include aesthetic options such as choosing architectural styles (modern, traditional, neoclassical, etc.) and more practical options such as fitting a station along a curved road, adding new platforms, or connections to other transit types. Ideally a single “transit station” option could be turned into everything from a rural railroad platform to a grand central station with bus, tram, and metro connections. Transport Fever 2 has a great implementation of this concept.
Keeping with the philosophy of drawing the player’s attention back to developed areas of the city, logistic hubs (ports, railyards, and airports) should be highly configurable as well and be shaped over time by growing demand. For instance, a regional airport should be accessible early on, but gradually turn into an international hub. The same should apply to ports and railyards that expand in realistic ways due to the practical need for expanded capacity.
Planning tools (place stuff down in “ghost” form and tweak it before actually paying for it)
More powerful tools to build/tweak junctions and intersections (move-it, NEXT, CSUR, etc.)
Vehicle choices for mass transit lines
Bridge stacking / customization
Paintable town squares/parks/markets (good luck fitting anything into a triangular city block currently)
More interesting terrain (marsh, forest, jungle, mountains, etc.)
Wall Street Week Ahead for the trading week beginning March 9th, 2020
Good Saturday morning to all of you here on wallstreetbets. I hope everyone on this sub made out pretty nicely in the market this past week, and is ready for the new trading week and month ahead. Here is everything you need to know to get you ready for the trading week beginning March 9th, 2020.
Wall Street braces for more market volatility as wild swings become the ‘new normal’ amid coronavirus - (Source)
The S&P 500 has never behaved like this, but Wall Street strategists say get used to it. Investors just witnessed the equity benchmark swinging up or down 2% for four days straight in the face of the coronavirus panic. In the index’s history dating back to 1927, this is the first time the S&P 500 had a week of alternating gains and losses of more than 2% from Monday through Thursday, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Daily swings like this over a two-week period were only seen at the peak of the financial crisis and in 2011 when U.S. sovereign debt got its first-ever downgrade, the firm said. “The message to all investors is that they should expect this volatility to continue. This should be considered the new normal going forward,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped north of 1,000 points twice in the past week, only to erase the quadruple-digit gains in the subsequent sessions. The coronavirus outbreak kept investors on edge as global cases of the infections surpassed 100,000. It’s also spreading rapidly in the U.S. California has declared a state of emergency, while the number of cases in New York reached 33. “Uncertainty breeds greater market volatility,” Keith Lerner, SunTrust’s chief market strategist, said in a note. “Much is still unknown about how severe and widespread the coronavirus will become. From a market perspective, what we are seeing is uncomfortable but somewhat typical after shock periods.”
So far, the actions from global central banks and governments in response to the outbreak haven’t triggered a sustainable rebound. The Federal Reserve’s first emergency rate cut since the financial crisis did little to calm investor anxiety. President Donald Trump on Friday signed a sweeping spending bill with an$8.3 billion packageto aid prevention efforts to produce a vaccine for the deadly disease, but stocks extended their heavy rout that day. “The market is recognizing the global authorities are responding to this,” said Tom Essaye, founder of the Sevens Report. “If the market begins to worry they are not doing that sufficiently, then I think we are going to go down ugly. It is helping stocks hold up.” Essaye said any further stimulus from China and a decent-sized fiscal package from Germany would be positive to the market, but he doesn’t expect the moves to create a huge rebound. The fed funds future market is now pricing in the possibility of the U.S. central bank cutting by 75 basis points at its March 17-18 meeting.
Where is the bottom?
Many on Wall Street expect the market to fall further before recovering as the health crisis unfolds. Binky Chadha, Deutsche Bank’s chief equity strategist, sees a bottom for the S&P 500 in the second quarter after stocks falling as much as 20% from their recent peak. “The magnitude of the selloff in the S&P 500 so far has further to go; and in terms of duration, just two weeks in, it is much too early to declare this episode as being done,” Chadha said in a note. “We do view the impacts on macro and earnings growth as being relatively short-lived and the market eventually looking through them.” Deutsche Bank maintained its year-end target of 3,250 for the S&P 500, which would represent a 10% gain from here and a flat return for 2020. Strategists are also urging patience during this heightened volatility, cautioning against panic selling. “It is during times like these that investors need to maintain a longer-term perspective and stick to their investment process rather than making knee-jerk, binary decisions,” Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note.
This past week saw the following moves in the S&P:
If you're like us, you've heard a lot of people reference the recent equity declines as a sign that the market is pricing in some sort of Armageddon in the US economy. While comments like that make for great soundbites, a little perspective is in order. Since the S&P 500's high on February 19th, the S&P 500 is down 12.8%. In the chart below, we show the S&P 500's annual maximum drawdown by year going back to 1928. In the entire history of the index, the median maximum drawdown from a YTD high is 13.05%. In other words, this year's decline is actually less than normal. Perhaps due to the fact that we have only seen one larger-than-average drawdown in the last eight years is why this one feels so bad. The fact that the current decline has only been inline with the historical norm raises a number of questions. For example, if the market has already priced in the worst-case scenario, going out and adding some equity exposure would be a no brainer. However, if we're only in the midst of a 'normal' drawdown in the equity market as the coronavirus outbreak threatens to put the economy into a recession, one could argue that things for the stock market could get worse before they get better, especially when we know that the market can be prone to over-reaction in both directions. The fact is that nobody knows right now how this entire outbreak will play out. If it really is a black swan, the market definitely has further to fall and now would present a great opportunity to sell more equities. However, if it proves to be temporary and after a quarter or two resolves itself and the economy gets back on the path it was on at the start of the year, then the magnitude of the current decline is probably appropriate. As they say, that's what makes a market!
Take a good luck at today's moves in long-term US Treasury yields, because chances are you won't see moves of this magnitude again soon. Let's start with the yield on the 30-year US Treasury. Today's decline of 29 basis points in the yield will go down as the largest one-day decline in the yield on the 30-year since 2009. For some perspective, there have only been 25 other days since 1977 where the yield saw a larger one day decline.
That doesn't even tell the whole story, though. As shown in the chart below, every other time the yield saw a sharper one-day decline, the actual yield of the 30-year was much higher, and in most other cases it was much, much higher.
To show this another way, the percentage change in the yield on the 30-year has never been seen before, and it's not even close. Now, before the chart crime police come calling, we realize showing a percentage change of a percentage is not the most accurate representation, but we wanted to show this for illustrative purposes only.
Finally, with long-term interest rates plummetting we wanted to provide an update on the performance of the Austrian 100-year bond. That's now back at record highs, begging the question, why is the US not flooding the market with long-term debt?
Today's decline is pretty much a continuation of what has been a one-way trade for the commodity ever since the US drone strike on Iranian general Soleimani. The last time prices were this low was around Christmas 2018.
With today's decline, crude oil is now off to its worst start to a year in a generation falling 32%. Since 1984, the only other year that was worse was 1986 when the year started out with a decline of 50% through March 6th. If you're looking for a bright spot, in 1986, prices rose 36% over the remainder of the year. The only other year where crude oil kicked off the year with a 30% decline was in 1991 after the first Iraq war. Over the remainder of that year, prices rose a more modest 5%.
Despite strong market gains on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the on-the-run 10-year Treasury yield ended the day below 1% for the first time ever and has posted additional declines in real time, sitting at 0.92% intraday as this blog is being written. “The decline in yields has been remarkable,” said LPL Research Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “The 10-year Treasury yield has dipped below 1%, and today’s declines are likely to make the recent run lower the largest decline of the cycle.” As shown in LPL Research’s chart of the day, the current decline in the 10-year Treasury yield without a meaningful reversal (defined as at least 0.75%) is approaching the decline seen in 2011 and 2012 and would need about another two months to be the longest decline in length of time. At the same time, no prior decline has lasted forever and a pattern of declines and increases has been normal.
What are some things that can push the 10-year Treasury yield lower?
A shrinking but still sizable yield advantage over other developed market sovereign debt
Added stock volatility if downside risks to economic growth from the coronavirus increase
A larger potential premium over shorter-term yields if the Federal Reserve aggressively cuts interest rates
What are some things that can push the 10-year Treasury yield higher?
A second half economic rebound acting a catalyst for a Treasury sell-off
As yields move lower, investors may increasingly seek more attractive sources of income
Any dollar weakness could lead to some selling by international investors
Longer maturity Treasuries are looking like an increasingly crowded trade, potentially adding energy to any sell-off
On balance, our view remains that the prospect of an economic rebound over the second half points to the potential for interest rates moving higher. At the same time, we still see some advantage in the potential diversification benefits of intermediate maturity high-quality bonds, especially during periods of market stress. We continue to recommend that suitable investors consider keeping a bond portfolio’s sensitivity to changes in interest rates below that of the benchmark Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index by emphasizing short to intermediate maturity bonds, but do not believe it’s time to pile into very short maturities despite the 10-year Treasury yield sitting at historically low levels.
U.S. Jobs Growth Marches On
While stock markets continue to be extremely volatile as they come to terms with how the coronavirus may affect global growth, the U.S. job market has remained remarkably robust. Continued U.S. jobs data resilience in the face of headwinds from the coronavirus outbreak may be a key factor in prolonging the expansion, given how important the strength of the U.S. consumer has been late into this expansion. The U.S. Department of Labor today reported that U.S. nonfarm payroll data had a strong showing of 273,000 jobs added in February, topping the expectation of every Bloomberg-surveyed economist, with an additional upward revision of 85,000 additional jobs for December 2019 and January 2020. This has brought the current unemployment rate back to its 50-year low of 3.5%. So far, it appears it’s too soon for any effects of the coronavirus to have been felt in the jobs numbers. (Note: The survey takes place in the middle of each month.) On Wednesday, ADP released its private payroll data (excluding government jobs), which increased by 183,000 in February, also handily beating market expectations. Most of these jobs were added in the service sector, with 44,000 added in the leisure and hospitality sector, and another 31,000 in trade/transportation/utilities. Both of these areas could be at risk of potential cutbacks if consumers start to avoid eating out or other leisure pursuits due to coronavirus fears. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, payrolls remain strong, and any effects of the virus outbreaks most likely would be felt in coming months.
“February’s jobs report shows the 113th straight month that the U.S. jobs market has grown,” said LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “That’s an incredible run and highlights how the U.S. consumer has become key to extending the expansion, especially given setbacks to global growth from the coronavirus outbreak.” While there is bound to be some drag on future jobs data from the coronavirus-related slowdown, we would anticipate that the effects of this may be transitory. We believe economic fundamentals continue to suggest the possibility of a second-half-of-the–year economic rebound.
Down January & Down February: S&P 500 Posts Full-Year Gain Just 43.75% of Time
The combination of a down January and a down February has come about 17 times, including this year, going back to 1950. Rest of the year and full-year performance has taken a rather sizable hit following the previous 16 occurrences. March through December S&P 500 average performance drops to 2.32% compared to 7.69% in all years. Full-year performance is even worse with S&P 500 average turning to a loss of 4.91% compared to an average gain of 9.14% in all years. All hope for 2020 is not lost as seven of the 16 past down January and down February years did go on to log gains over the last 10 months and full year while six enjoyed double-digit gains from March to December.
Today’s big rally was an encouraging sign that the markets are becoming more comfortable with the public health, monetary and political handling of the situation. But the history of these “emergency” or “surprise” rate cuts by the Fed between meetings suggest some caution remains in order. The table here shows that these surprise cuts between meetings have really only “worked” once in the past 20+ years. In 1998 when the Fed and the plunge protection team acted swiftly and in a coordinated manner to stave off the fallout from the financial crisis caused by the collapse of the Russian ruble and the highly leveraged Long Term Capital Management hedge fund markets responded well. This was not the case during the extended bear markets of 2001-2002 and 2007-2009. Bottom line: if this is a short-term impact like the 1998 financial crisis the market should recover sooner rather than later. But if the economic impact of coronavirus virus is prolonged, the market is more likely to languish.
([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())
Adobe Inc. $336.77
Adobe Inc. (ADBE) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.23 per share on revenue of $3.04 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.29 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 81% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for earnings of approximately $2.23 per share. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 29.65% with revenue increasing by 16.88%. Short interest has decreased by 38.4% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 7.2% from its open following the earnings release to be 10.9% above its 200 day moving average of $303.70. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Monday, February 24, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,109 contracts of the $400.00 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 9.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.1% move in recent quarters.
DICK'S Sporting Goods, Inc. (DKS) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 7:30 AM ET on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $1.23 per share on revenue of $2.56 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $1.28 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 57% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 14.95% with revenue increasing by 2.73%. Short interest has decreased by 29.1% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 20.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.0% below its 200 day moving average of $39.75. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 26, 2020 there was some notable buying of 848 contracts of the $39.00 put expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 14.4% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 7.3% move in recent quarters.
Broadcom Limited (AVGO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $5.34 per share on revenue of $5.93 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $5.45 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 83% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 5.65% with revenue increasing by 2.44%. Short interest has decreased by 15.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 15.3% from its open following the earnings release to be 7.7% below its 200 day moving average of $291.95. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. On Tuesday, February 25, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,197 contracts of the $260.00 put expiring on Friday, April 17, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 11.1% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 4.9% move in recent quarters.
Thor Industries, Inc. (THO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:45 AM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.76 per share on revenue of $1.79 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.84 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 62% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 16.92% with revenue increasing by 38.70%. Short interest has decreased by 12.9% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 5.4% from its open following the earnings release to be 12.0% above its 200 day moving average of $62.53. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 6.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 8.1% move in recent quarters.
ULTA Beauty (ULTA) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $3.71 per share on revenue of $2.29 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $3.75 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 73% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 2.77% with revenue increasing by 7.78%. Short interest has increased by 8.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 0.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 9.5% below its 200 day moving average of $283.43. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. Option traders are pricing in a 15.3% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 11.7% move in recent quarters.
Slack Technologies, Inc. (WORK) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:15 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus estimate is for a loss of $0.06 per share on revenue of $173.06 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is ($0.04) per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 67% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for a loss of $0.07 to $0.06 per share on revenue of $172.00 million to $174.00 million. Short interest has increased by 1.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 19.0% from its open following the earnings release. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 4.3% move on earnings in recent quarters.
Dollar General Corporation (DG) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 6:55 AM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $2.02 per share on revenue of $7.15 billion and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $2.05 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 76% expecting an earnings beat. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 9.78% with revenue increasing by 7.52%. Short interest has increased by 16.2% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 1.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.7% above its 200 day moving average of $149.88. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Friday, February 28, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,013 contracts of the $182.50 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 9.2% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 5.7% move in recent quarters.
Stitch Fix, Inc. (SFIX) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.06 per share on revenue of $452.96 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.09 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 83% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $447.00 million to $455.00 million. Consensus estimates are for earnings to decline year-over-year by 50.00% with revenue increasing by 22.33%. Short interest has decreased by 4.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 16.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 5.1% below its 200 day moving average of $24.01. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, February 19, 2020 there was some notable buying of 4,026 contracts of the $35.00 call expiring on Friday, June 19, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 28.0% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 15.2% move in recent quarters.
Sogou Inc. (SOGO) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:00 AM ET on Monday, March 9, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.09 per share on revenue of $303.08 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.10 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 58% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $290.00 million to $310.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 28.57% with revenue increasing by 1.78%. Short interest has increased by 6.6% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted lower by 27.8% from its open following the earnings release to be 15.7% below its 200 day moving average of $4.57. Overall earnings estimates have been revised lower since the company's last earnings release. The stock has averaged a 3.8% move on earnings in recent quarters.
DocuSign (DOCU) is confirmed to report earnings at approximately 4:05 PM ET on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The consensus earnings estimate is $0.05 per share on revenue of $267.44 million and the Earnings Whisper ® number is $0.08 per share. Investor sentiment going into the company's earnings release has 81% expecting an earnings beat The company's guidance was for revenue of $263.00 million to $267.00 million. Consensus estimates are for year-over-year earnings growth of 600.00% with revenue increasing by 33.90%. Short interest has decreased by 37.7% since the company's last earnings release while the stock has drifted higher by 12.1% from its open following the earnings release to be 31.9% above its 200 day moving average of $63.71. Overall earnings estimates have been revised higher since the company's last earnings release. On Wednesday, March 4, 2020 there was some notable buying of 1,698 contracts of the $87.50 call expiring on Friday, March 20, 2020. Option traders are pricing in a 8.5% move on earnings and the stock has averaged a 10.0% move in recent quarters.
Полезно. ПО Fawkes - клоакинг фотографий для защиты от систем распознавания лиц. Защитите ваши фото ! Скачать ПО Fawkes. Как использовать ПО Fawkes установка. Image "Cloaking" for Personal Privacy. Fawkes Usage - Setup Instructions
Как защититься от системы распознавания лиц при помощи ПО Fawkes Как защититься от массовой слежки и идентификации людей по лицу Полезно. ПО Fawkes - клоакинг фотографий для защиты от систем распознавания лиц. Защитите ваши фото ! Скачать ПО Fawkes. Как использовать ПО Fawkes , установка. Image "Cloaking" for Personal Privacy. Fawkes Usage - Setup Instructions Алгоритм Fawkes эффективно подрывает базу обучения «вражеской» нейросети. Перед публикацией каждой фотографии в ней делаются незаметные попиксельные изменения, после чего она становится не то что непригодной для использования при обучении, а буквально портит систему распознавания лиц. Обработайте ваши фотографии с помощью Fawkes -> Загружайте ваши фото в социальные сети сайт: http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/ Fawkes - Image "Cloaking" for Personal Privacy For more information about the project, please refer to our project webpage http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/ Как использовать ПО Fawkes и установка - Fawkes Usage - Setup Instructions https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes/blob/mastefawkes/README.md https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes/tree/maste Инструкции по установке Fawkes Setup Instructions https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes/blob/mastefawkes/README.md Publication & Presentation - PDF Fawkes: Protecting Personal Privacy against Unauthorized Deep Learning Models. Shawn Shan, Emily Wenger, Jiayun Zhang, Huiying Li, Haitao Zheng, and Ben Y. Zhao. In Proceedings of USENIX Security Symposium 2020. ( Download PDF here ) https://people.cs.uchicago.edu/%7Eravenben/publications/abstracts/fawkes-usenix20.html https://people.cs.uchicago.edu/%7Eravenben/publications/pdf/fawkes-usenix20.pdf Frequently Asked Questions http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/ --------------------------------- Скачать ПО Fawkes: Downloads and Source Code - Version 0.3 (July 2020) http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/ Download the Fawkes Software: Fawkes.dmg for Mac (v0.3) DMG file with installer app Compatibility: MacOS 10.13, 10.14, 10.15 https://mirror.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/files/0.3/Fawkes-0.3.dmg Fawkes.exe for Windows (v0.3) EXE file Compatibility: Windows 10 https://mirror.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/files/0.3/Fawkes-0.3.exe Бинарник для Mac Fawkes Executable Binary https://mirror.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/files/0.3/fawkes_binary_mac-v0.3.zip Бинарник для Windows Fawkes Executable Binary https://mirror.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/files/0.3/fawkes_binary_windows-v0.3.zip Бинарник для Linux Fawkes Executable Binary https://mirror.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/files/0.3/fawkes_binary_linux-v0.3.zip Инструкции по установке Setup Instructions https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes/blob/mastefawkes/README.md Исходный код Fawkes на GitHub Fawkes Source Code on Github, for development https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes --------------------------------------------------------------------- Клоакинг фотографий для защиты от систем распознавания лиц https://habr.com/ru/company/itsumma/news/t/512122/ 23 июля 2020 Информационная безопасность, Open source, Обработка изображений, Киберпанк Современные системы распознавания лиц представляют угрозу личной приватности. Уже сейчас такие системы ежедневно сканируют миллионы лиц в Китае, Великобритании и России без их согласия. Поставлена задача, чтобы в следующем году 100% пассажиров в топ-20 аэропортов США незаметно подвергали этой процедуре. https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states-2/ Исследователи из Чикагского университета придумали любопытный алгоритм клоакинга, который позволяет защититься от распознавания лиц. http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/ Дело в том, что системы распознавания лиц берут фотографии для обучения своей системы из ваших открытых данных — в основном, из профилей в социальных сетях и других открытых источников. Например, крупнейшая система распознавания лиц Clearview.ai для обучения использовала более трёх миллиардов фотографий из интернета и социальных сетей. Clearview.ai демонстрирует, насколько легко построить такую систему распознавания на снимках из Facebook и «Вконтакте». https://clearview.ai/ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/18/technology/clearview-privacy-facial-recognition.html Так вот, новый алгоритм Fawkes эффективно подрывает базу обучения «вражеской» нейросети. Перед публикацией каждой фотографии в ней делаются незаметные попиксельные изменения, после чего она становится не то что непригодной для использования при обучении, а буквально портит систему распознавания лиц. Схема работы Fawkes https://hsto.org/webt/vu/r2/ao/vur2aoiyij6hcfibjxpfo8-q9b8.jpeg Программа Fawkes работает локально на вашем компьютере и выполняет клоакинг фотографий. После обработки вы можете использовать фотографии как угодно — публиковать в социальных сетях, передавать друзьям или распечатывать на бумаге. В любом случае, для распознавания лиц они уже бесполезны, как показала проверка в ходе научного исследования чикагской группы. Интуитивно понятное пояснение в 2D-пространстве из четырёх признаков A, B, U, T, почему модель, обученная на искажённых фотографиях, не распознаёт лица на оригиналах. Слева — границы принятия решений при обучении на оригиналах, справа — границы принятия решений при обучении после клоакинга https://hsto.org/webt/gc/bq/f1/gcbqf1bgswyycpjzszuirvgjv6w.png Тестирование показало, что эффект клоакинга трудно распознать при обучении нейросети и он не вызывает ошибок при обучении. Другими словами, операторы системы распознавания лиц не заподозрят ничего неладного. Но просто если кто-то попытается выполнить распознавание на вашем оригинальном изображении (например, с камер наблюдения), поиск по базе не найдёт совпадений. Fawkes протестирован и показал эффективность 100% против самых известных моделей распознавания Microsoft Azure Face API, Amazon Rekognition и Face++. Алгоритмы сжатия изображений тоже не портят защиту клоакинга. Исследователи проверяли материал на прогрессивном JPEG, который используется в Facebook и Twitter для пережатия картинок, на уровнях качества от 5 до 95. В общем, сжатие немного ослабляет защиту клоакинга, но при этом ещё более значительно снижается качество распознавания лиц. То есть нашей задачи помех в классификации это не мешает. Как ни странно, заблюривание фотографий и применение разных графических фильтров тоже не снимает защиту, поскольку по своей сути клоакинг происходит не на уровне пикселей, а на уровне пространства признаков, то есть пиксельные измененимя на самом деле имеют глубокую природу и не стираются в растровом редакторе. Техническая статья с описанием алгоритма (pdf) будет представлена на ближайшем симпозиуме USENIX по безопасности 12? 14 августа 2020 года. http://people.cs.uchicago.edu/~ravenben/publications/pdf/fawkes-usenix20.pdf Кстати, название программы позаимствовано от маски Гая Фокса из фильма «V — значит вендетта». Скачать программу Fawkes: http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/ Open Source Обработка изображений Информационная безопасность Киберпанк Fawkes распознавание лиц клоакинг V — значит вендетта Информационная безопасность Обработка изображений Киберпанк -------------------------------------------------------- How to Setup Fawkes Binary https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes/blob/mastefawkes/README.md This application is built for individuals to cloak their images before uploading to the Internet. For more information about the project, please refer to our project webpage. If you are a developer or researcher planning to customize and modify on our existing code. Please refer to fawkes. How to Setup MAC: Download the binary following this link and unzip the download file. Create a directory and move all the images you wish to protect into that directory. Note the path to that directory (e.g. ~/Desktop/images). Open terminal and change directory to fawkes (the unzipped folder). (If your MacOS is Catalina) Run sudo spctl --master-disable to enable running apps from unidentified developer. We are working on a solution to bypass this step. Run ./protection-v0.3 -d IMAGE_DIR_PATH to generate cloak for images in IMAGE_DIR_PATH. When the cloaked image is generated, it will output a *_min_cloaked.png image in IMAGE_DIR_PATH. The generation takes ~40 seconds per image depending on the hardware. PC: Download the binary following this link and unzip the download file. Create a directory and move all the images you wish to protect into that directory. Note the path to that directory (e.g. ~/Desktop/images). Open terminal(powershell or cmd) and change directory to protection (the unzipped folder). Run protection-v0.3.exe -d IMAGE_DIR_PATH to generate cloak for images in IMAGE_DIR_PATH. When the cloaked image is generated, it will output a *_min_cloaked.png image in IMAGE_DIR_PATH. The generation takes ~40 seconds per image depending on the hardware. Linux: Download the binary following this link and unzip the download file. Create a directory and move all the images you wish to protect into that directory. Note the path to that directory (e.g. ~/Desktop/images). Open terminal and change directory to protection (the unzipped folder). Run ./protection-v0.3 -d IMAGE_DIR_PATH to generate cloak for images in IMAGE_DIR_PATH. When the cloaked image is generated, it will output a *_min_cloaked.png image in IMAGE_DIR_PATH. The generation takes ~40 seconds per image depending on the hardware. More details on the optional parameters check out the github repo https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes/tree/maste ------------------------ Usage Fawkes https://github.com/Shawn-Shan/fawkes/tree/maste Fawkes is a privacy protection system developed by researchers at SANDLab, University of Chicago. For more information about the project, please refer to our project webpage. Contact us at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]oglegroups.com). We published an academic paper to summarize our work "Fawkes: Protecting Personal Privacy against Unauthorized Deep Learning Models" at USENIX Security 2020. NEW! If you would like to use Fawkes to protect your identity, please check out our software and binary implementation on the website. Copyright This code is intended only for personal privacy protection or academic research. We are currently exploring the filing of a provisional patent on the Fawkes algorithm. Usage $ fawkes Options: -m, --mode : the tradeoff between privacy and perturbation size. Select from min, low, mid, high. The higher the mode is, the more perturbation will add to the image and provide stronger protection. -d, --directory : the directory with images to run protection. -g, --gpu : the GPU id when using GPU for optimization. --batch-size : number of images to run optimization together. Change to >1 only if you have extremely powerful compute power. --format : format of the output image (png or jpg). when --mode is custom: --th : perturbation threshold --max-step : number of optimization steps to run --lr : learning rate for the optimization --feature-extractor : name of the feature extractor to use --separate_target : whether select separate targets for each faces in the diectory. Example fawkes -d ./imgs --mode min Tips The perturbation generation takes ~60 seconds per image on a CPU machine, and it would be much faster on a GPU machine. Use batch-size=1 on CPU and batch-size>1 on GPUs. Turn on separate target if the images in the directory belong to different people, otherwise, turn it off. How do I know my images are secure? We are actively working on this. Python scripts that can test the protection effectiveness will be ready shortly. Quick Installation Install from PyPI: pip install fawkes If you don't have root privilege, please try to install on user namespace: pip install --user fawkes. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Image "Cloaking" for Personal Privacy http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/ Original Cloaked http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/images/shawn.jpg http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/images/shawncloaked.jpg Original Cloaked http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/images/emily.jpg http://sandlab.cs.uchicago.edu/fawkes/images/emilycloaked.jpg 2020 is a watershed year for machine learning. It has seen the true arrival of commodized machine learning, where deep learning models and algorithms are readily available to Internet users. GPUs are cheaper and more readily available than ever, and new training methods like transfer learning have made it possible to train powerful deep learning models using smaller sets of data. But accessible machine learning also has its downsides. A recent New York Times article by Kashmir Hill profiled clearview.ai, an unregulated facial recognition service that has downloaded over 3 billion photos of people from the Internet and social media and used them to build facial recognition models for millions of citizens without their knowledge or permission. Clearview.ai demonstrates just how easy it is to build invasive tools for monitoring and tracking using deep learning. So how do we protect ourselves against unauthorized third parties building facial recognition models that recognize us wherever we may go? Regulations can and will help restrict the use of machine learning by public companies but will have negligible impact on private organizations, individuals, or even other nation states with similar goals. The SAND Lab at University of Chicago has developed Fawkes1, an algorithm and software tool (running locally on your computer) that gives individuals the ability to limit how their own images can be used to track them. At a high level, Fawkes takes your personal images and makes tiny, pixel-level changes that are invisible to the human eye, in a process we call image cloaking. You can then use these "cloaked" photos as you normally would, sharing them on social media, sending them to friends, printing them or displaying them on digital devices, the same way you would any other photo. The difference, however, is that if and when someone tries to use these photos to build a facial recognition model, "cloaked" images will teach the model an highly distorted version of what makes you look like you. The cloak effect is not easily detectable by humans or machines and will not cause errors in model training. However, when someone tries to identify you by presenting an unaltered, "uncloaked" image of you (e.g. a photo taken in public) to the model, the model will fail to recognize you. Fawkes has been tested extensively and proven effective in a variety of environments and is 100% effective against state-of-the-art facial recognition models (Microsoft Azure Face API, Amazon Rekognition, and Face++). We are in the process of adding more material here to explain how and why Fawkes works. For now, please see the link below to our technical paper, which will be presented at the upcoming USENIX Security Symposium, to be held on August 12 to 14. The Fawkes project is led by two PhD students at SAND Lab, Emily Wenger and Shawn Shan, with important contributions from Jiayun Zhang (SAND Lab visitor and current PhD student at UC San Diego) and Huiying Li, also a SAND Lab PhD student. The faculty advisors are SAND Lab co-directors and Neubauer Professors Ben Zhao and Heather Zheng. 1The Guy Fawkes mask, a la V for Vendetta In addition to the photos of the team cloaked above, here are a couple more examples of cloaked images and their originals. Can you tell which is the original? (Cloaked image of the Queen courtesy of TheVerge). Publication & Presentation Fawkes: Protecting Personal Privacy against Unauthorized Deep Learning Models. Shawn Shan, Emily Wenger, Jiayun Zhang, Huiying Li, Haitao Zheng, and Ben Y. Zhao. In Proceedings of USENIX Security Symposium 2020. ( Download PDF here ) https://people.cs.uchicago.edu/%7Eravenben/publications/abstracts/fawkes-usenix20.html https://people.cs.uchicago.edu/%7Eravenben/publications/pdf/fawkes-usenix20.pdf ------------------------- *** Вступайте в наши сообщества - Join Us: https://www.reddit.com/1_News/ и https://www.reddit.com/True_Russia/ Делитесь со всеми, распространяйте информацию! *** Революция в России. 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